The mother and stepmother of two-year-old Liam Fee have been convicted of the toddler's murder by a court in Scotland. Rachel Fee, the child's mother, and her partner Nyomi, assaulted the child so severely he sustained injuries similar to those of a car crash victim. The couple then tried to blame another boy for Liam's death at the couple's home in Thornton, Fife on 22 March 2014.
During the couple's seven-week trial Livingston Crown Court heard they subjected children to disgusting brutality including forcing them to eat dog mess and their own vomit. Children were forbidden from going to the toilet at night then made to take cold showers if they wet the bed.
The children were locked in cages and tied to beds with cable ties as the couple watched TV and one was tied naked to a chair and locked in a room with rats and a snake overnight which they warned ate little boys. Social workers had been alerted to concerns about Liam's welfare but failed to take action.
According to the Mail, when Rachel and Nyomi broke Liam's leg they googled "can wives be in prison together?" The broken leg was untreated as was a fractured arm, meaning the little boy would have been in severe pain. After Liam died they forced another boy's fist into his mouth in order to leave traces of DNA. Pathologists found over 30 separate injuries on Liam's body.
The pair, both originally from Ryton, Tyne and Wear, had tried to claim another child had killed Liam but the court found them both guilty of all eight charges of abuse and of murder by a majority verdict. The Crown said it didn't matter which of the women dealt the final blow as they shared a common criminal purpose.
Det Insp Rory Hamilton, of Police Scotland, said: "During joint interviews with specially-trained detectives and officials from Fife Council, the evidence began to build towards a picture of horrendous abuse which directly contributed to the version of events being put forward by the two accused being utterly discredited.
"This was a complex, challenging and sensitive investigation which involved interviewing two young children to establish the level of abuse and neglect both they and Liam Fee had been subjected to. It was because of their courage that detectives were able to identify Rachel and Nyomi Fee as being responsible for a wide range of serious offences against three children."
Liam's father Joseph Johnson had to be consoled when the verdict was announced. Both women will be sentenced on 6 July and could receive life sentences. The evidence in the trial was so harrowing the jurors were excused jury service for the next 10 years.